West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has admitted training pitches at West Ham’s training base in Chadwell Heath “are not ideal” and the squad will now train at the new Rush Green facility from Monday, December 14.
Already the side was short of key players Dimitri Payet, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho and Victor Moses with injury so there’s something of a crisis growing.
Bilic said something had to be done – and the Rush Green pitches are in better condition.
He said: “I heard a lot about the pitches here – they are not ideal. With Reid’s injury for example they are slippery on the top but rock hard underneath and it is a bad combination.
“Over time, players have been moaning about the pitches – they are not happy. We were planning to move next season to Rush Green because of the quality of the pitches. I decided we will go on Monday. We can’t continue to risk any more on these kind of pitches. We can live without the great dressing room, kitchens, free area.”
Despite disrupted preparation the Hammers have to compete against a revitalised Stoke City side on Saturday (December 12). The Potters have lost just once in their last six Premier League games and West Ham’s makeshift attack will face an in-form goalkeeper in the shape of Jack Butland who has kept six clean sheets in his last eight league games.
Bilic praised the solidarity of Mark Hughes’ side as well as a frontline he calls “very dangerous and effective”.
“They played really well against Manchester City and they’ve beaten some big teams like Southampton and Chelsea,” said the 47-year-old. “They’re playing top class football now which doesn’t surprise me because they have top quality players – especially up front. Mark Hughes did really well getting Xherdan Shaqiri to the club and the same with Bojan Krkic and Mark Arnautovic.”
“They’re a good solid team – they’re good when in transition and they’re good when they attack the space. I am impressed with them and it’s going to be a very difficult game for us but we’re up for it.”